According to a study conducted by University of Illinois researchers and due to be published in the American Journal of Public Health, the higher speed limit resulting from the end of the National Maximum Speed Law has caused 12,500 deaths since 1995.
When the law was introduced to save fuel due to the 1974 oil embargo, the road toll dropped 17 percent in 12 months. In 1987, power to raise the speed limit above 55 mph was granted to the states and the law was repealed in 1995.
"This is a failed policy because it was, in essence, an experiment over 10 years. People assumed that increasing the speed limit would not have an impact. We've shown that something has happened and it's quite dramatic," said Friedman.